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Department store closings put Minn. mall on foreclosure notice

The JCPenney store in the Viking Plaza Mall in Alexandria, Minn., will close May 1. J.C. Penney and Herberger's will both vacate the mall. Beth Leipholtz / Forum News Service

ALEXANDRIA, Minn. -- The pending closures of J.C. Penney and Herberger's have triggered a foreclosure notice for Viking Plaza Mall.

A notice to foreclose the mortgage was recorded April 6 with Douglas County for Viking Plaza Realty Group, LLC. However, Scot Snitker, who manages Viking Plaza for Lexington Realty International, says this does not mean the mall is closing.

"It just needs to be refinanced, and we have been looking for that," he said. "It will happen."

Early in 2018, Herberger's fell behind on its rent.

"Bon-Ton (Herberger's parent company) told us because of the bankruptcy that they were suspending rent payment, so we had to report that to our bank," Snitker said. "Proactively the bank said, 'You don't have rent, they broke the lease, so technically you don't have a tenant.'"

Snitker said the mall's mortgage was dependent on retaining anchor stores. With J.C. Penney closing in May, the bank considered two anchors to have left.

"The condition from the beginning was that if two or more anchors leave, then the note is due in payable," he said. "So they called the $10 million due."

Snitker says once new leases are signed, the mall expects to refinance with its current lender of a new lender. He says Viking Plaza has not filed for bankruptcy and has no plans to do so.

Beth Leipholtz

Beth is a reporter at the Echo Press. She graduated from the College of Saint Benedict in May 2015 with a degree in Communication and Hispanic Studies. Journalism has always been her passion, but she also enjoys blogging and graphic design. In her spare time, she's most likely at Crossfit or at home with her boyfriend and three dogs.

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